G7 calls for ‘transparent’ probe in Khashoggi case

A Turkish police officer waits in front of the Saudi Arabia consul’s residence amid the disappearance of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi. (AFP pic)

OTTAWA: Foreign ministers from the Group of Seven called Tuesday for a “transparent” probe into the disappearance of a Saudi journalist and regime critic, saying they were “very troubled” by the case.

Jamal Khashoggi, an insider turned critic of the conservative monarchy, was last seen on October 2 when he entered the Saudi consulate in Istanbul to sort out marriage paperwork.

“We, the G7 foreign ministers, of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, the United States of America and the high representative of the European Union, affirm our commitment to defending freedom of expression and protection of a free press,” read a statement.

“We remain very troubled by the disappearance of prominent Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi,” added the statement by Canada, which currently holds the presidency of the group of industrial democracies.

Officials in Turkey say that the Saudis killed Khashoggi inside the consulate. The Saudis initially insisted, without evidence, that Khashoggi left freely while later reportedly hinted that rogue elements could be responsible.

“Those bearing responsibility for his disappearance must be held to account,” The G7 statement added.

“We encourage Turkish-Saudi collaboration and look forward to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia conducting a thorough, credible, transparent and prompt investigation, as announced.”